AI discovers ancient arthritis drug that may help elderly people survive COVID-19

An arthritis drug discovered by AI could reduce the risk of older people dying from COVID-19, according to a new study.

The once-a-day drug called baricitinib was first identified as a potential treatment for the virus by BenevolentAI, a start-up based in London.

The company used its AI software to search the scientific literature for drugs that could block the infection process. The most promising treatment it discovered was baricitinib, which it predicted could prevent the infection from entering the lung cells.

A new study has now shown the drug's safety and effectiveness in the largest group of patients published to date.

Scientists from Imperial College London and Sweden's Karolinska Institutet administered baricitinib to 83 COVID-19 patients with a mean age of 81 who were being treated in hospitals across Italy and Spain.

They found that patients who received baricitinib reduced the death rate by 71 percent compared to the 83 people in the control group who did not take the drug.

In addition, only 17 percent of patients who received baricitinib died or needed a ventilator, compared with 35 percent of patients who received standard care only.

The study suggests that the drug could both reduce organ damage caused by inflammation and block the virus from entering human cells.

"We urgently need to find more effective therapies for COVID-19 while we wait for a vaccine to become widely available," said Imperial Professor Justin Stebbing, co-author of the study. "This is one of the first COVID-19 treatments to go from the computer to the clinic and laboratory."

The results are now being followed up through large-scale clinical trials.

The Next Web

The post AI Discovers Ancient Arthritis Drug That May Help Elderly People Survive COVID-19 first appeared on Xiaomist .


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